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Finished routing my Carvin LB76 and installing new p'ups!

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Bass Kahuna, Dec 31, 2002.

  1. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    My apologies to anyone here who also frequents the Carvin BBS and has already seen this...

    I know some of you might find this sacreligous, but I have been thinking of replacing the pickups in my 10 year old LB76 for a LONG time now (the j style pickups just don't have a wide enough pickup pattern for the string width of a 6'er, IMHO.... most j style pickups have a max pickup pattern width of just under 3", and the string spacing on my LB76 was 3.1"). The low B on my LB76 has always been MUCH weaker than the other strings, but I absolutely love it's tone, the shape and feel of the neck, etc.


    After a LOT of research (I talked to folks at Bartolini and EMG several times....), I finally scored a Bart xxM56M deep tone split coil and an EMG HZ-45 DC pickup.

    I made a router template, tested it several times on scrap pieces of wood, took a deep breath (no matter how many times I do this type of work on instruments, I always say a quick prayer to the router gods....!), put it down with clamps and double sided foam tape, and routed the bass out for the new pickups.

    Here's a pic of the bass after surgery (I didn't take any of the actual surgical procedure, not for the faint of heart!)


    Yes, I know that part of the original hole for the neck j pickup is showing, I wanted the neck pickup a little closer to the end of the fingerboard to really accentuate the warm lows and mid-lows of the bass, as well as that is where I like to rest my thumb!

    Next, I installed the Bart deep tone in the neck position and as I never roll off any high end on that pickup, I only installed a 500K volume pot and left out the tone pot. The EMG DC humbucker went in the bridge position along with an EMG BTC pre-amp that I had. Of course, I wired the pickups with each having it's own output...

    Put it all back together....


    ....took it to practice, plugged it in, turned up the volume and ...

    WHAMM-O, WHADDA difference!!! My low B-string is DEADLY now! The overall tone and "feel" of the bass did not change hardly at all, but the low end is way stronger, warmer, and .... hard to describe, but this bass is now everything I've ever wanted in a bass!

    Well, cast your slings and arrows of outrage fortune at me doing this, but the way I look at it is my instruments are "tools", and if by doing something like this I can improve the tool, then I will.

    Caveat: This was performed by a professional driver on a closed course, please do not attempt this at home.

    Happy Holidays!
  2. rumblethump

    rumblethump Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    Pioneer CA. 95666
    Kahuna, spoken like a true Hot Rodder! Congratulations :D I've never hesitated to improve electronics on a bass that played well and sounded great acoustically. If the sound is there, good pickups, bridges and strings can only help. Of the 4 basses I own now, only one has the stock pickups. Ironically its my Carvin LB75, although I prefer to play it passive. I've often thought about switching to Barts or Duncans on this one too but its still in the future. The only thing I ever routed was an abomination. Fortunately it was a speaker opening and I was able to cover my mistakes with the grill. :eek:
  3. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Hey again Gang,

    Here are some MP3's of the bass with the new pickups.

    For simple home recording and working out song ideas, I have a Kawai MX-8R keyboard mixer, which has no EQ of any kind, it's just a line mixer with level and L-R pan controls per channel. I run the left and right outputs of the mixer into the line in of my computer, and I use Sonic Forge to make simple WAV files which I then convert to MP3's.

    Therefore, these MP3 samples are not "studio quality", nor reflective of my live sound, but hopefully will give you a basic taste for the new pickups.

    I ran the neck pickup straight into channel one of the mixer, as with my live rig I run that pickup with no "effects" for just pure, fundamental low end.

    I ran the bridge pickup into a crate G40CXL guitar practice amp I have to dail in a little chorus and a touch of reverb, then the left and right line outs of that amp into channels 2 and 3 of the mixer, dialed hard to left and right.

    This first sample is 38 seconds long and is 298 KB in file size. The first 16 seconds are of the dry neck pickup signal as detailed above, then from seconds 20-38 are of the bridge pickup through the crate amp, again as detailed above. I played quite a bit on the low B string so you can hear how it is equally as strong as the rest of the strings (NOT the case previously with the factory pickups...) (Final caveat: I was tired from working on installing my slate floor all day so my hands aren't what they should be either...)


    This next sample is of both pickups being played together, again through the signal paths outlined above: It is 37 seconds long and 291 KB in file size.


    Finally, here is a quick sample I made from a song I wrote for my wife titled "The Warmth of You" which will be on my solo CD due out this spring (gotta promote wherever I can!..). I simply added a quick drum machine track (bossa nova beat...) and played the basic chord pattern from the song, with a few slap harmonics, etc. I made this one just so you could hear how the pickups blend together in quiet chords, and because I really like the chords.... The actual recording will have other instruments and a melody, of course.... this sample is 1:48 long and is 849 KB in file size.


    Please don't be to critical of my playing on the above samples, I am tired and my hands are sore, I am just providing these here for you to hear the basic sound of the new pickups....

  4. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    Woooaaaaaahhh! That sounds amazing! Doesn't exactly make me want a Carvin, since you had to do the mods to make it sound like that, but that really sounds great.
  5. snyderz

    snyderz Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    I love the Bart J pups on my LB76.
  6. TonyG


    Jul 9, 2002
    Beaverton, Oregon
    Thats a nice sounding bass there.
    Have fun!

    :D :D :D
  7. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Very nice tone with the new pickups!:) I think that's the first bass that I have ever seen with a Bart and an EMG in it.